City cemeteries are running out of space

August 16, 2010 09:30AM

A private mausoleum at Greenlawn Cemetery

Cemeteries all over New York City are running out of burial space, and available plots are selling at a premium, with the cost tripled in some places compared to a decade ago, the New York Times reported. Per square foot, plots in centrally located cemeteries rival the most expensive real estate in the city. A private mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx can cost more than $1,000 per square foot, and above ground mausoleums can sell for more than $3 million. But even as New Yorkers continue to die, at a rate of close to 60,000 people per year, more than 50 years have passed since a major cemetery was established within the city, and no new burial grounds are planned. Trinity Church Cemetery in Washington Heights, the last operating graveyard in Manhattan, has stopped selling plots. Washington Cemetery, the largest Jewish graveyard in Brooklyn, ran out of land in the winter. Dozens of smaller cemeteries across the five boroughs are also feeling the crunch. Even the most famous, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, has only about five years before it will be forced to stop selling plots. [NYT]